Thomas Paterson trained as a watchmaker and set up his own workshop on Perth’s High Street. He soon needed larger premises, so he moved a little further up the street into our current shop, where he started selling watches, too. As business boomed, he expanded his range to include jewellery, clocks, silverware and wedding gifts.
This photograph, believed to have been taken in the 1860s shows Thomas displaying his wares. Closer inspection of the photograph shows pocket watches (wristwatches had not yet been invented), watch chains, rings, bar brooches, clocks and tea services. You will notice that it shows 31 High Street, whereas we are now at number 37. We haven’t moved: the street was renumbered many years ago! Three of Thomas’s sons joined the business as watchmakers. More space was needed so the business purchased flats above the shop to increase the workshop space. There were now six watchmakers servicing watches and clocks, with trade work also being undertaken for other jewellers and watchmakers.
During the 1900s the business remained in the hands of Thomas’s descendants. Times were changing with the more convenient wrist watch largely replacing pocket watches. The business diversified further with one member of the family, Tom Paterson, qualifying as an optician and practising from the shop premises. Although this sounds rather unusual today, it was once quite common for jewellers and opticians to be interlinked.
Even today many customers still mention Tom, David and Crawford Paterson. The large image on the right shows a receipt for a 9ct gold watch that cost the grand sum of £3 15s. It was signed on 28 May 1938 by Thomas Paterson. This was recently donated by a customer who is now 97 years old and has had the watch serviced here over the years.
The picture on the left was taken in 1971 and shows David Paterson, who had retired several years earlier. As you can see, the shop front is still very similar to the original from the previous century.
As possibly Scotland’s oldest family jeweller, T. Paterson has continued to thrive and is still run by the Paterson family to this day. While watch repairs are still carried out on the premises, most of the workshop space is now dedicated to the design and production of jewellery.
The products stocked in the shop have also changed dramatically, as you can see from this website. As well as carrying out repairs on customers’ jewellery, the skilled workshop team also create bespoke items for customers and stock. We now employ two jewellery designers who help and inspire customers in creating something unique and special to them.
We are very proud of our rich heritage and in 2003 received permission from the council to reinstate the clock above our shop, which had been taken down nearly 100 years before. This has become quite a feature of the city centre and is the only working clock on Perth’s High Street. When we had a new shop front fitted recently, our architects took inspiration from our original façade and managed to recreate many of the original features.
T. Paterson Jewellers Ltd. 37 High Street PERTH Scotland PH1 5TJ. 01738 621787